Tuesday may be Mardi Gras for some, but for Chicago’s dense Polish community it’s paczki time. Paczki, pronounced “ponch-kee,” are basically Polish jelly-filled doughnuts made with a very rich dough. These special treats come around a couple times in the year, but are primarily eaten on Fat Tuesday before Lent (although the real Paczki Day in Poland is on Fat Thursday, nearly a week before Ash Wednesday).
With more than one million Chicago citizens with Polish ancestry, making it the largest ethnic group in the city, paczki are now a Chicago tradition. Here are three bakeries and restaurants near Logan Square where you can get delicious paczki without having to trek across the city.
Red Apple Buffet (Czerwone Jabluszko) (3121 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Red Apple Buffet is a famous Chicago Polish restaurant that serves authentic dishes. Dinner starts at only $11.99 for two entrees, three hot sides, and two cold sides. This time of the year their dessert cases are stuffed with paczki for diners or to-go orders.
Endy’s Deli (3055 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Endy’s Deli is one of Chicago’s favorite Polish delis. In addition to selling traditional cured meats, sausage, and cheeses, before Lent the deli sells paczki with an assortment of fillings. Endy’s Deli can be reached at 773-486-8160.
Kurowski’s Sausage Shop (2976 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Kurowski’s Sausage Shop is known for the plump sausage links hanging by dozens in the deli, but there is so much more. Kurowski’s sells fresh produce, frozen pierogies and features a Polish bakery. Leading up to Lent the bakery includes paczki with a variety of fillings. Kurowski’s Sausage Shop can be reached at 773-645-1692.
Photo: Michael Mulligan of Mike’s Table